Triangle Trade Market: Knicks Wave The White Flag, Cavs & Thunder Re-Up In Three-Team Deal

JR Sith

We have our first major trade of the NBA season. Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks have tapped out. Tonight the team agreed to a three-team deal that sends starting guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cavs sending their former starting shooting guard, Dion Waiters, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a protected first-round pick.

The deal was first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The Knicks received a 2019 second-round pick from the Cavs—clear cap move by the Knicks and re-up for the Cavs and Thunder as they gear up for a playoff run.

This trade definitely shakes up the Eastern Conference with the Cavs picking up a great perimeter defender in Iman Shumpert who was severely undervalued by New York. Shumpert immediately becomes the best defender on the team not named LeBron James and someone to guard the Derrick Rose, John Wall in the postseason.

In Smith Cavs head coach David Blatt only gets a headache, but if LeBron can get through to the former Sixth Man of the Year then the Cavs are adding an explosive bench piece that can score just as much as Waiters did—and give you just as many “I f*cking hate this guy” moments. For just the price of a future second-round pick and some trash reserve centers that the Knicks plan to waive upon arrival, this is definitely worth the roll of the dice. Throw in the protected first-round pick from OKC and this can be a steal for the Cavs and a much needed kick in the ass.

The Thunder paid a little more than the Cavs, but still got exactly what they needed. Since they stupidly traded the best shooting guard in the NBA (James Harden) for a bag of potato chips (Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Mitch McGary) their bench has been the clear weak spot of their roster. Reggie Jackson’s insertion to the starting lineup only made matters worse for a bench unit that struggled to put the ball through the net. With Waiters they get a volume scorer who can go off for 30 any given night. If Waiters can use the trade as motivation than the Thunder now have that third perimeter scorer Jackson hasn’t consistently been.

So why did the Knicks make this move? Cap space. Cap space. Cap space. Did I mention cap space? Phil knows at 5-31 the Knicks are going nowhere fast and cutting your losses now makes perfect sense. They are no longer on the hook for Smith’s player option which could have been in the neighborhood of $3 million ($2.9 to be specific). The team is also waiving center Samuel Dalembert according to Wojnarowski —a few days before his guaranteed money kicks in.

Jackson was reportedly a Shumpert fan, but he’s never healthy. The Knicks could’ve gotten a much richer deal for Shump had they dealt him last year or year before that, but that would just make too much sense. We all know the Knicks don’t love common sense. By gutting the roster the Knicks can now focus on scouting top draft prospects, most notably centers Jahlil Okafor from Duke and UK’s Karl Towns.

Expect Carmelo Anthony to be shut down sooner rather than later to complete the all-out tank mode. Now all head coach Derek Fisher can do is play young bucks Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early heavy minutes and see what they’re about. Oh and Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, you two bums are next so enjoy your last days in Gotham.